Eight insurers grow premium to N157bn amid economic downturn
Eight largest listed insurance companies operating in the Nigerian market saw their gross premium written increase to N157.39 billion in the first half of this year.
The premium grew by 20.39 percent from the N130.73 billion posted in the same period in 2021, according to the financial performance of underwriters that have submitted their half-year results to the Nigerian Exchange Limited.
During the period under review, the companies paid N54 billion claims, up 12.5 percent from N48 billion in 2021.
The underwriters are AIICO Insurance Plc, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc, Cornerstone Insurance Pc, Coronation Insurance Plc, Linkage Assurance Plc, NEM Insurance Plc, and Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc.
Industry analysts said the continued growth in premium underscored the enormous potential in the sector, given the country’s population of over 200 million people and insurance penetration of less than one percent.
According to them, there is a need for more awareness so that more Nigerians can appreciate the benefits of insurance for the protection of assets, dependants and wealth creation.
Val Ojumah, managing director/CEO of FBN Insurance, said the role of insurance to the growth and development of any economy could not be overemphasised, adding that “it remains a major economic driver, providing support for the various sectors of the economy.”
“Industry report places Nigeria’s insurance penetration at less than one percent, and much lower for our contribution to global premium. This is a far cry when compared to global average performance and African counterparts like South-Africa, Kenya and Morocco,” he said.
Ojumah said the EndSARS protest in 2020 seemed to have raised awareness among Nigerians on the importance and need for insurance, thereby leading to growth in gross premium payment and participation in insurance.
He said: “This has also opened up the market to innovation and stronger collaboration between insurance companies, customers and other stakeholders.
“Speaking to stability, we could say that the Nigerian insurance industry has contributed to economic stability, given the role played in restoring affected businesses and individuals back on their feet after the EndSARS protest.”
“Several businesses would have gone under but for the intervention of their insurers. Reports state that about N11 billion was paid out in claims post-EndSARS. Such intervention helps to sustain economic and infrastructural development.”
According to him, the insurance industry provides the needed financial stability and security by ensuring that losses are adequately compensated for.
Joyce Ojemudia, managing director/CEO of African Alliance, said the sector played a major role in bringing stability to the Nigerian economy, particularly after the EndSARS protest that rocked the country in 2020.
“Despite the tremendous impact of the EndSARS protest to the economy, the downturn and problems it created were short-lived as a result of the positive and quick response of the insurance industry in providing relief,” she said.
According to her, the industry paid over N11 billion in claims and is still paying out to insured individuals on cases of vandalism, looting, theft and loss of cash, malicious damages, business interruption, burglary attacks and death.
She said: “It is vital to highlight that the insured being paid are not the total number of persons who were affected in crises, but the number of persons who had an insurance cover before the crises. Amongst the deaths recorded, only a few with a life insurance cover before the crisis had claims payment made to their families.
“As a leading life insurer, I take this opportunity to highlight the importance of insurance and urge persons who do not currently have an insurance cover to deliberately seek out options today.”
Olumide Ibidapo, managing director/CEO of FBN Insurance Brokers Limited, said in spite of the global and national economic headwinds, the insurance sector in Nigeria performed considerably well in the first half of 2022.